By Seàn-Patrick Lovett
Taking his cue from St Matthew’s description of the Magi and how they followed the star in search of the newborn king, Pope Francis focused on three attitudes which characterize the Epiphany, or “manifestation” of Jesus: “careful searching, indifference, fear”.
The Magi, the Scribes and Herod
It is the Magi who, even after their long journey, continue their “careful search” for the Messiah. The scribes and chief priests, who know perfectly well where Jesus has been born, are “indifferent” to that birth and stay within their comfort zones. Herod, according to Pope Francis, has the worst reaction of all: “fear”. He is afraid the Child will usurp his authority and pretends to want to pay Him homage only because he wants to eliminate Him. “See how fear generates hypocrisy”, added Pope Francis in an off-script remark.
We too must choose which of these attitudes to assume before the coming of Jesus, said the Pope. Selfishness can make us think of Jesus as a threat or an obstacle to be eliminated. Indifference can lead us to live as though He did not exist, “following the rules of the world” and thinking only of satisfying “our thirst for power and money”.
The example of the Magi
Instead, said Pope Francis, “we are called to follow the example of the Magi: to be careful in our search, ready to go out of our way to meet Jesus in our lives”. If this is the attitude we choose to have before His coming, concluded the Pope, “we can live a beautiful life, we can grow in faith, hope and love for God and our brothers and sisters”.